Friday, February 25, 2005

On Talking Heads and Artificial Intelligence

He is a bit of a tease.

Jeff Gannon on his "The Conservative Guy" circa 2002-2004 website, page titled "Who is CG?", set the stage for his recent show:
In many circles, I have become known as "the conservative guy". Some people don't even remember my name because I am an average type guy. I've been a preppie, a yuppie, blue-collar, green-collar and white-collar. I've served in the military, graduated from college, taught in the public school system, was a union truck driver, a management consultant, a fitness instructor and an entrepreneur. I'm a two-holiday Christian and I usually vote Republican because they most often support conservative positions.

And then, well we all know about Jim Guckert, who peculiarly enough, rather than resurrected with the revelation that he is the legitimate infant and Gannon a Changeling, instead is symbolically buried with Guckert/Gannon briefly disappearing from the web then returning as Gannon at, the changeling given full inheritance rights.

What's odd is Gannon's mockery. Mockery isn't quite the same as a sense of humor and I take his tease, early as 2002, that people don't remember his name, as mockery. But who has he been mocking?

Aside the obvious, what bothers me the most is the absence of and obvious disdain for creativity, imagination or intelligence in whatever proceeds from "Pretty Woman" Gannon, the movie referenced being one I don't like and only mention as it seems someone somewhere begs a comparison be drawn. Yet whoever that someone may be was disturbingly content with the dregs at the bottom of the glass, not even caring to send Guckert to a crash course finishing school so that the absence of meat on the model's bones only meant all the better a showcase for the designer's style. Or maybe that's me missing the point and Guckert/Gannon is the most sterling, crystal-clear reflection of itself the the Bush administration has to offer, this most definitive Pygmalion product.

A Pygmalion which at least on one level seems to be mocking us. The Conservative Guy is adamant that we are all like him. His mission, he says, is to convince us of it. His belief is we are all conservative at the core, none of us exempt. On his website offers us a survey to take, that should convince us the same.

The survey allows for no buts, hows or whys. Only yes or no. Gannon seems to believe that all people who happen on to the same bus for even a moment are there for the same reason, have come from the same place, and all have the same goal.

Now, don't imagine I'm looking to Gannon for any shard of honesty. Take for instance the question of his name. I don't know if he's referring here to the name of Gannon, or alluding to Guckert (I think the subtext is Guckert) but he says his name isn't remembered because he is the penultimate average guy. Elsewhere, he's said that he chose Gannon for a pseudonym as Guckert was hard to remember and difficult to spell, which means he chose Gannon as a memorable name and Guckert is given as unique. Neither meshes with the idea of the Penultimate Conservative Guy who fades into the wallpaper background because he is so ordinary, because he is the Everyman that Gannon states he is.

While insisting he is an ordinary wallflower, Gannon at "The Conservative Guy" demanded confrontation, heckling the liberal reader to dare and write him, to take him on. This is the same personna that at taunts, "I'm back" and chides that the Left is terrified of him which is why it tried to bring him down, but that he will fight the good battle which will be told (of course) in a book. Seems he imagines himself the Hunter Thompson of the Right. "Fear and Loathing in the Press Room," he titles a column (which he calls a blog). One of the symbols he chose to represent himself on "The Conservative Guy" was a gun, the other an SUV. He says he was thought of as a harmless gadfly. Which insinuates he was anything but, biding his time to ask "the question" which burst the cocoon and out pops Super Gannon, Conservative Avenger. Upholder of All That is Right.

I couldn't have cared less about Gannon's personal life. But if one thinks about it, the reason it did come into play, a matter of interest, is his transparency as a "reporter". As has been observed by others, what he did was faxing. What he was handed he turned around and handed out, no filter of scrutiny applied. When there is no content there is nothing left to lack at but the package. Gannon set up today's scene two years ago when he put up his "The Conservative Guy" website. Two years ago, it may have been taken as self-evaluation. Today, it reads as bait, a tease. "Who am I? What's my real name?" And, again, the assertion that the reader is no different than he. Supposedly, he's addressing Liberals, though his website being what it is was most likely to be visited by other conservatives. One could also look at it as an odd sort of calling or business card, his Other ID for those who brushed elbows with him and cared to look him up.

Gannon is in many ways exactly what he professes himself to be, so ordinary, forgettable, that one feels it a perverse waste of time applying any thought to him. It's a role he's playing, of which he's been proud. But he's a bad actor. He couldn't separate himself out of the mix. While he was on stage reading from the book, he'd a billboard up behind sassing, "Who am I?" Unlike Superman, no matter how proud he was of his cover, he perhaps wanted it to be blown. Now that it has been, there's not all that much to sift through. If people are looking for a story, it's because Gannon isn't one, so it's his circumstance which must be, the vehicle that's been getting him around. The man is the ashes to ashes dust to dust that breaks a cold sweat on anyone who faces the void.

His Pygmalian, whatever or whoever it might be, would be much the same. Never mind how he got where he was. Gannon is what the Bush Culture thinks of its constituents. He is Bush Culture. Teasing, mocking, substanceless. A culture in which there is nothing to honor but the machinery of appetite. Hunger and crude oil.


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